Tagged: Robert E. Howard

Derrick Ferguson Has THE CUTMAN In His Corner!

Back during the heyday of the Classic Pulp era there were magazines devoted to just about every type of genre you could think of or that publishers thought they could sell to the entertainment hungry public.  Most of us are familiar with the hero pulps, the western pulps, the science fiction pulps, the horror pulps.  But there were far more than that.  You had your spicy pulps which was a safe name for what was pretty much soft core porn.  There were gangster pulps, railroad pulps and sports pulp.  And a sub-genre of the sports pulp was boxing pulp stories.
If you’re at all familiar with the boxing pulp genre it’s probably because of Robert E. Howard and his champion boxer character Sailor Steve Costigan.  Even though Howard is best known as the creator of Conan, King Kull and Solomon Kane he wrote more stories about Sailor Steve Costigan.  
It’s probably inevitable that in the New Pulp Renaissance we’re enjoying right now that the pulp boxing genre should also enjoy a revived popularity and it’s a genre that’s well represented by the the Fight Card series of books in general and THE CUTMAN in particular.  It’s the second book in the series but you don’t have to have read the first one in order to enjoy it.  The books are credited as being written by Jack Tunney but that’s a “house name”.  The first book “Felony Fists” was written by Paul Bishop and THE CUTMAN was written by Mel Odom and it’s a terrific read.
First off, it’s set in Havana, Cuba during a period of history that fascinates me; the period when American organized crime worked hand-in-hand with the Batista regime, turning Cuba into a playground of illegal activity.  It’s here that the cargo ship Wide Bertha docks and it isn’t long until one of its crewmen, the two-fisted Irishman Mickey Flynn runs afoul of the henchmen working for small-time gangster Victor Falcone.  And this in turn leads to Mickey having a beef with Falcone himself who has aspirations of moving into the big time by currying favor with Charles “Lucky” Luciano.
The boxing angle comes into the story due to Falcone’s sponsorship of savagely brutal  backroom boxing matches which is dominated by his fighter, the human buzzsaw “Hammer” Simbari.  Simbari is a bloodthirsty sadist who derives extreme satisfaction from beating men half to death in the ring and the inevitable battle between Mickey and Simbari is written with a great deal of tension and suspense as we’ve seen what Simbari can do and so has Mickey.  And he’s not all that sure he can take Simbari.
Not that he has any choice.  In a series of plot twists I wouldn’t dare reveal here, the fate of Wide Bertha and her crew rests on Mickey’s exceptional boxing skills, skills learned from the legendary Father Tim of St. Vincent’s Asylum For Boys in Chicago.  Mickey’s got no choice but to climb into the ring with this near unstoppable fighting machine.  
THE CUTMAN has got a lot going on besides the boxing.  There’s a whole host of supporting characters that added greatly to the flavor and atmosphere of the story.  Colorful, delightful characters that reminded me of those great supporting actors in those classic black-and-white Warner Brothers crime/gangster movies of the 30’s and 40’s.  In fact, that’s exactly how THE CUTMAN reads, like an old fashioned Warner Brothers movie.  The crime elements are interwoven with the well written fight scenes and there’s even a romantic subplot with Mickey and a lusty gorgeous Cuban barmaid which doesn’t go the way romances in this type of story usually go.
So should you read THE CUTMAN? I certainly would recommend it.  It’s a solid page turner that does exactly what I think a pulp story should do; keep you asking; “what’s going to happen next?”  It’s very well written with snappy, slangy dialog and good descriptions of the fight scenes.  At all times we know exactly what’s happening and why.  I’m most certainly going to be reading “Felony Fists” in the next few days and keeping my eye out for future volumes in the Fight Card series which are available as e-books only.
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 299 KB
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Fight Card Productions (November 11, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0066E93MK


Cover Art: Becky Cloonan
Cover Art: Massimo Carnevale

Conan The Barbarian returns to comics on February 8th, 2012 as he faces off against the Queen of the Black Coast at Dark Horse Comics.

In this sweeping adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s fan-favorite “Queen of the Black Coast,” Conan turns his back on the civilized world and takes to the high seas alongside the pirate queen Bêlit, setting the stage for an epic of romance, terror, and swashbuckling. This is Conan as you’ve never seen him, with the combination of one of Robert E. Howard’s greatest tales and the most dynamic creative team in comics!

Conan The Barbarian #1 is written by Brian Wood with art and cover by Becky Cloonan, and colors by Dave Stewart. Also included is a cover by Massimo Carnevale.

Conan The Barbarian #1 is 32 pages of exciting pulp adventure for $3.50.

Cover Art: Becky Cloonan

o A perfect jumping-on point for new readers!
o A bold, fresh take on the Cimmerian.
o “Queen of the Black Coast” is the most-requested Conan adaptation!

For more information on Conan and Dark Horse Comics, visit http://www.darkhorse.com/.

Click on images for a larger view.

Conan The Barbarian (1982) Movie Review

Universal Pictures
Directed by John Milius
Produced by Buzz Feitshans and Raffaella De Laurentiis
Written by John Milius and Oliver Stone
Based on the character/stories created and written by Robert E. Howard
I knew that director John Milius and his screenplay co-writer Oliver Stone got the character of Conan five minutes into the movie.  During the opening credits we see Conan’s father (William Smith) forging a mighty sword.  He then takes the young Conan (Jorge Sanz) to the top of a mountain.  He explains how The Riddle of Steel was stolen from Crom, the god of Cimmeria and that Conan must learn The Riddle of Steel for himself because as his dad succinctly sums up: “For no one in the world can you trust.  Not men, not women, not beasts.  But this-“ and he holds up the gleaming sword.  “-this you can trust.”
It’s not long after this that Conan’s parents, along with all the other adults in his village are slaughtered by the servants of Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones) a powerful sorcerer who is also the leader of a cult that worships the snake god Set.  Conan, along with other children are taken as slaves and chained to The Wheel of Pain, a gigantic mill which they push night and day, through weather fair and foul.  It’s torturous work but it has its benefits.  The young Conan grows up into Arnold Schwarzenegger as pushing that damn thing has built up muscles of Herculean proportions.  He’s bought by The Hyborian Age’s version of a fight promoter and wins fame as a gladiator.  He’s freed by his master and after meeting up with the master thief and archer Subotai (Gerry Lopez) takes up a career as a thief himself.
It’s during their attempt to infiltrate The Tower of The Serpent and steal The Eye of The Serpent that Conan meets swordswoman and thief Valeria (Sandahl Bergman) who will become the great love of his life.  It’s their successful and daring theft that brings them to the attention of King Osric (Max von Sydow) who hires the trio to rescue his daughter from The Cult of Set.  While Valeria and Subotai see this as a chance for a really big payday, Conan has his sights on taking the head of Thulsa Doom.
Now, you can say whatever you want about CONAN THE BARBARIAN but it won’t faze me because if nothing else, John Milius and Oliver Stone respected Robert E. Howard’s enough that they obviously not only read his stories but incorporated elements of some of those stories into the movie including what is probably the most famous scene in any Conan story; his crucifixion and his killing of a vulture pecking at his flesh with nothing but his bare teeth. 
This movie, along with “The Terminator” launched Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career and it’s easy to see why.  Schwarzenegger at that time looked like he was designed by Frank Frazetta and he inhabits the role as well as Sean Connery did with James Bond or Michael Keaton did with Batman.  For those who claim that Schwarzenegger can’t act, I point out a terrific scene where Conan, Valeria and Subotai plan their assault on Doom’s stronghold.  While Bergman and Lopez have all the dialog, Schwarzenegger says far more than they do in the way he’s sharpening his sword.  And even though Schwarzenegger gets a lot of mocking for his dialog and accent in this movie, I like it.  I mean, the guy does sound like a barbarian from pre-history.   In fact, I like it that 90% of the characters have accents in this movie as they do sound as if they come from another age rather than modern day Californians playing dress up.
The supporting cast is outstanding.  James Earl Jones infuses Thulsa Doom with enormous presence and a true sense of not being entirely human.  His henchmen, played by Sven-Ole Thorson and Ben Davison are suitably impressive.   Bergman and Lopez back up Schwarzenegger well and create their own characters in some really wonderful intimate moments such as the one where Subotai tells the wizard Akiro (Mako) that since Conan, as a Cimmerian will not cry to show grief, Subotai must do it for him.  Mako contributes comedy relief without being buffoonish or degrading his own character.  But that’s to be expected because Mako is epic in everything he does.
And speaking of epic, the musical score by Basil Poledouris has become respected as one of the finest musical scores ever and rightly so.  A large part of the enjoyment of watching CONAN THE BARBARIAN comes from the sheer power of the score.  Poledouris also has done the scores for “Quigley Down Under” and “Lonesome Dove” that are easily as epic as the one for this movie.
So should you see CONAN THE BARBARIAN? No doubt you already have.  It’s one of those movies that everybody and their mother has seen, it seems.  Even chicks who normally shun this type of movie like it was the Ebola virus have seen CONAN THE BARBARIAN.  It’s violent, it’s raw, it’s sexy, and it’s fun.   There’s an excellent reason why CONAN THE BARBARIAN is rightly regarded as a classic.  It truly is inspired by the spirit of Robert E. Howard in a way that the recent remake never even comes close to.  If you’ve seen it, what the hell…watch it again.  And if you haven’t, I envy you discovering it for the first time.  Enjoy.
129 minutes
Rated R


This February, writer Brian Wood and artist Becky Cloonan bring Conan The Barbarian back to comic chops as they adapt Robert E. Howard’s fan-favorite “Queen of the Black Coast.”

Conan has turned his back on the civilized world and takes to the high seas alongside the pirate queen Bêlit, setting the stage for an epic of romance, terror, and swashbuckling. This is Conan as you’ve never seen him, with the combination of one of Robert E. Howard’s greatest tales and the most dynamic creative team in comics.

Conan The Barbarian: “Queen of the Black Coast”
Brian Wood (Writer)

Becky Cloonan (Art/Variant cover)
Dave Stewart (Color)
Massimo Carnevale (Cover)
Full Color
32 pages
On sale February 8

For more information on Conan and Dark Horse Comics, visit http://www.darkhorse.com/.

Conan the Barbarian

conan-the-barbarian-bluray-300x359-5766311Conan the Barbarian was such a major figure in the heyday of the pulp magazines, that he made an indelible impression on readers. When Lancer Books took over the mass market paperback publishing for the Cimmerian in the 1960s, the Frank Frazetta cover images were so powerful, you had to notice. Since then, different generations have their own impression of how Robert E. Howard’s character and world should look. After Frazetta came Barry Smith and John Buscema and after them came Arnold Schwarzenegger and then…not much. The syndicated Conan featuring Ralf Möller barely made a ripple and as the rights went from owner to owner, he faded a bit from memory. Even the wonderful Dark Horse Comics adaptations have not quite made the stir the original comics did nor have the paperback originals from Tor and others had that same spark.

As a result, there was a lot riding on Lionsgate’s revival of the character and, sad to say, they failed at their task. Conan the Barbarian, which came out in August, was poorly marketed and came up short in the writing, production design, acting and directing, resulting in a worldwide box office of anemic proportions. Now, the movie is coming out this week as a Blu-ray combo pack and we get a chance to consider what went wrong.


New Conan Creative Team Adapts Robert E. Howard’s "Queen of the Black Coast"

Conan Art: Becky Cloonan

At this weekend’s New York Comic Con, Dark Horse Comics announced a new Conan the Barbarian comic book series by the DEMO creative team of writer Brian Wood and artist Becky Cloonan that will be in stores beginning on February 8, 2012.

The first story arc will adapt Robert E. Howard’s “Queen of the Black Coast,” in which Conan turns his back on the civilized world and takes to the high seas alongside the pirate queen Belit.

For more information on Conan and Dark Horse Comics other pulpy offerings, visit them at http://www.darkhorse.com/.


PulpEmpire.com is proud to offer our newest anthology Pirates & Swashbucklers, a seventeen story collection of great pirate pulp fiction! Pirates & Swashbucklers author Kameron W. Franklin interviewed his fellow writers of the new Pulp Empire anthology out now!

Today he sits down with Viktor Kowalski, author of “The Treasure of the Lost Race”.

When did you first realize you were a writer?
When I wrote my first yarn. I was like: “Wow! I’m a writer! Awesome!”

What authors influence or inspire you?
Robert E. Howard.

What book(s) have you read more than once? What drew you back?
The “Complete Chronicles of Conan” by Robert E. Howard because it contains the best fantasy yarns ever written; “Prometheus Rising” by Robert A. Wilson because it is the absolutely best book about the workings of the human mind, and what you can do to make the most of yours.

Do you consider yourself a “pulp” writer? Why? Is there another genre you like to write?
But of course. I like to write pulps because that’s what I like to read.

I also write genre fiction like fantasy, historical fiction, adventure, horror and sci-fi, sometimes in pulp style, other times not. I’ve tried writing those contemporary dramas, steeped in emotional wallowing and whining, seasoned with quasi-intellectual and philosophical self-indulgence. It didn’t work.

In 25 words or less, how would you define “pulp” as a genre?
Robert E. Howard.

What made you decide to submit a story for the Pirates & Swashbucklers anthology?
It seemed like an excellent opportunity to showcase my exquisite writing ability. Seriously.

Read more of Kameron’s interviews at PensAndSwords.com.

Pulp Empire Presents: Pirates & Swashbucklers is now available at Pulp Empire.com. Until October 10th, use the code “62QUSQGC” at our CreateSpace bookstore to receive 15% off on the book!

All Pulp Interviews New Pulp Author David Wood

Writer David Wood’s novels are filled with action, adventure, and more pulpy goodness than you may be able to handle. All Pulp recently sat down with David to talk about his books and to find out just what pulp means to him.

All Pulp: Tell us a little about yourself and your pulp interests.

David Wood: I write action-adventure with a strong pulp influence. I love the “old school” pulp stories with a heavy dose of lost cities and ancient mysteries.

AP: What does pulp and pulp fiction mean to you?

DW: To me, a good pulp story is a fast-paced adventure or mystery. The hero doesn’t rely on technology to save the day, but on his or her own wits and skills.

AP: Quest is your latest novel in the Dane Maddock adventure series. Tell us a bit about the book, the character, and the series. Where can readers find them?

DW: Readers have compared the series to “Dirk Pitt meets Indiana Jones.” Dane Maddock and his partner “Bones” Bonebrake are former Navy SEALs turned treasure hunters who keep stumbling into ancient mysteries, usually Biblical in origin. In Quest, they head off on the trail of Percy Fawcett’s final expedition, and we put a new twist on the Lost City of Z legend. The books are always a blend of mystery and action-adventure.

AP: Your bio says that you’re a fan of all things historical, archaeological, mythological, and cryptozoological. That’s quite an interesting mix of interests. How has your passion for these things inspired and worked their way into your writing?

DW: I like to imagine that there’s still some mystery left in the world, be it ancient mysteries or undiscovered creatures. I think these elements lend a sense of wonder to a story, and I try to put a little of each into my books. In Quest, in particular, you can clearly see all of these influences.

AP: You’ve written adventure, historical pieces, and stories about zombies. Do you have a favorite genre in which to work or do you like to play the field and work in as many different genres as possible?

DW: When I’m at the beginning or end of a story, the genre of the work-in-progress is always my favorite. When I’m in the middle third of a story, my favorite genre is whatever I’m not working on at the time. As a student I hated sophomore years, as a teacher I hated winter quarter, and as a writer I hate the middle of any book. I enjoy all the different genres I’ve tackled so far, though I found historical fiction to be the most daunting, and I’d love to write a baseball novel sometime. If I had to choose only one genre, though, it would be action-adventure. There are so many places I want my characters to go and so many ancient mysteries I want them to solve that I suspect I could write in the genre for the rest of my life and not run out of stories to tell.

AP: What, if any, existing characters would you like to try your hand at writing?

DW: The easy answer would be Indiana Jones, but that’s been done by better writers than me. I would like to see what I could do with Flynn Carson from the “Librarian” movie series. Some of his exploits are a silly, but I think his humor and adventurous spirit offers lots of possibilities.

AP: Who are some of your creative influences?

DW: Too many to count, but there are a few biggies. Clive Cussler’s early novels inspired me to experiment with action-adventure, and I learned a great deal about story structure from his work. Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child are inspiring in the way they manage to maintain a fast pace while slowly unfolding the mystery element of their story. Finally, the old Conan adventures by Robert E. Howard always fueled my sense of wonder.

AP: What does David Wood do when he’s not writing?

DW: Aside from annoying my wife and kids at every possible turn, I coach fast-pitch softball and suffer through the ups and downs of the Atlanta Braves. I also co-host the ThrillerCast podcast, which isn’t about Michael Jackson, but about the thriller genre. When I want to get really geeky, I play a miniature war game called HeroScape, but that’s a secret.

AP: Where can readers find learn more about you and your work?

DW: Visit me at www.davidwoodweb.com. From there you can link to my blog, which is the best way to keep current with me, and to find links to my Facebook page and Twitter. Also, give ThrillerCast a listen. You can download it on iTunes or check it out at http://www.thrillerpodcast.com/.

AP: Any upcoming projects you would like to mention?

DW: Things have been busy. I’ve just co-authored a book in Jeremy Robinson’s ‘Jack Sigler/Chess Team’ universe called Callsign: Queen, and my short story “Dark Entry,” which features the main characters from the Dane Maddock adventures, was included in a recent anthology called The Game. Pulp fans will love it because all of the stories are re-interpretations of the classic story “The Most Dangerous Game.”

AP: Are there any upcoming convention appearances or signings coming up where fans can meet you?

DW: I don’t have any personal appearances coming in the near future. I think it’s my coffee breath. I do have an upcoming appearance scheduled on Gail Z. Martin’s “Ghost in the Machine” podcast.

AP: And finally, what advice would you give to anyone wanting to be a writer?

DW: Patience and determination. It took seven years of slowly building my audience and improving my craft before I could make writing my full-time job. Don’t give up if your first book doesn’t take off; don’t get cocky if your first book goes crazy; and don’t invest so much time marketing your book(s) that it slows your progress on your work in-progress. Keep putting out books and building your audience.

AP: Thanks, David.

DW: Thank you very much for the interview. All Pulp is a great site and I’m honored to be included.
To learn more about David Wood and his books, visit him at http://www.davidwoodweb.com/.

Reviews from the 86th Floor: Barry Reese looks at Fortune’s Pawn

Written by Nancy A. Hansen
Pro Se Press
ISBN 9781466243460
179 pages, $12.00

Okay, let’s establish something right away: I don’t generally read fantasy. I did when I was younger, really digging Dragonlance and the like… but nowadays, the only time I read fantasy is when I dig open a Robert E. Howard collection for old-times sake. So I’m not really the target audience for this one. But I’ve read some short stories by Nancy in the past and enjoyed them so I figured I’d dive into her first novel and see how it went.

First impressions: the cover is intriguing but I really, really would not have obscured the title. This is okay if it’s Spider-Man or something: we all know what the title is anyway so breaking it or obscuring it can be a bold design move. But when it’s an unfamiliar title (especially one that’s rendered in a confusing font), I think it’s not bold… I think it’s not wise. I showed the book to three different people and not one of them could figure out what the title was from the front or spine — the font chosen was way too busy. It looks like the book is called Forgude’s Pawd.

Okay, once I got past the cover design issues, I jumped into the story and found that it was told in a very readable style. For some reason the opening with the weremon seemed awkward to me but I think it just took a few pages to get into Nancy’s world. Once things shifted to the ill-fated family, things picked up and from there it all went smoothly.

The basic premise is classic and familiar: a prophecy warns that a red-haired child will rise up to overthrow the bad guys so the villains are out killing everyone with red hair. One infant survives such an attack and grows up to become our protagonist. Callie is an enjoyable character and her motivations and emotions are well depicted.

I found the parts of the story featuring conversations between characters or internal monologues to be the best part of the tale. The action scenes were clearly depicted but lacked the kind of edge that I usually like in my fantasy (think Robert E. Howard’s ability to depict sweaty violence). I was impressed by Nancy’s willingness to get her literary hands dirty, though — no one is safe in this book, including little kids. Everybody has an equal opportunity to get eviscerated.

This is obviously the first chapter in a larger story and I’m curious about where it goes from here. If I were a diehard fantasy fan, I think this would be something that would definitely go onto my shelf of favorites. As it is, I would still recommend it to anyone looking to dip their toes into the fantasy genre or who are looking for a character-driven adventure of any type.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.


KBOO community radio out of Portland, Oregon is a pulp-lover’s dream, with their GREMLIN TIME radio show. Host Matthew Clark lines up a number of pulp-tastic post-mortem perambulations through the exciting worlds of authors such as Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert E. Howard and Rafael Sabatini! Featuring radio productions of stories such as “Pigeons From Hell” and “The Man With The Twisted Lip”, “It” and many more, for free to download or listen to online at http://kboo.fm/GremlinTime!